May 09, 2019

Manchin, Cornyn Introduce Bipartisan Disaster Relief Bill To Release Long Awaited Funds To West Virginia, Texas, and Other States

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) today introduced the Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Funding Act. The bill directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to release $16 billion in long-awaited disaster relief funding within 60 days to nine states and two U.S. territories including West Virginia, Texas and Puerto Rico.

These funds were originally appropriated for mitigation and resilience activities through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2018, which became law on February 9, 2018. However, more than a year later the affected states and territories still have not seen funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

During testimony before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on April 3, 2019, HUD Secretary Ben Carson pledged that the funds would be released to the impacted states and territories by May 1, 2019. Despite this commitment, the funds have yet to be released to the states and there has been no public statement from the Administration to explain this delay.

“I was very appreciative of Secretary Carson’s commitment to deliver the long-awaited disaster relief funds to states like West Virginia, and I believe he has done everything in his power to live up to that commitment. Unfortunately, it appears that there are other forces at play behind the scenes that continue to throw up road blocks. This is simply unacceptable,” said Senator Manchin. “West Virginia has been waiting over three years for this funding to restore our communities, infrastructure and economies from the damage caused by the terrible June 2016 floods. I have been continuously fighting for West Virginians so that they can receive this funding that they were promised. It has been caught up in bureaucratic red tape for far too long. I am proud to work with Senator Cornyn on this bipartisan solution, and I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will support this bill.”

“Nothing should hold up resources already appropriated by Congress from getting to our communities, and this bipartisan bill will ensure Americans receive the disaster relief they need,” said Senator Cornyn.